Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I've always wondered...
If the things that I read say a lot about me, or very little. Or is it more the way I read versus what I read?
The way I read is what I'd call dedicated. I was speaking (texting) a friend of mine earlier and in that small conversation we spoke a little about books. He asked me if I read a book all the way through even if I don't like it. The answer to that is, yes. If I start something I feel like I must finish it, no matter how distasteful it really is. I am currently reading Tess of the D'ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. I'm not super in love with it. Well, it would be fair to say that it holds my interest some, but only because it's one big train wreck after another. I am very interested in the conclusion of the novel. It's just that it gets very dry and very masculine in some ways, which tends to lose my interest relatively quickly.
What does that say about me? Does it mean that I am devoted and well meaning? Does it say that I give everything a fair chance, regardless of its overall experience? The real question is whether or not I can apply this to real life. And honestly, I don't think I can. The only thing I've ever been overall dedicated to is my job and my son. Those are fairly big things. I've always been much more hard on myself than ever required. I also somewhat feel like this whole idea that I'm pondering is pointless in the long run.
Either way, it's now time to move on to what I read. This is a much more radical category because I read a very diverse range of things, sort of. Most of what I read is Russian or English literature written before 1920. The rest of my repertoire consists of a little fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction. I almost completely detest modern literature based in modern times. I've never found it interesting to read about people or situations that could relate too closely to my own. I lose the disassociation with reality that I love so much. That in itself is a pretty profound revelation. It's true though, I never feel more comfortable, when reading, as I do when I'm imagining something as far from my own reality as possible. I don't really mean that in a science fiction/alien kind of way. Even when I'm reading fantasy or science fiction it's still something real enough that maybe it could exist or could have existed. I'm not sure that The Wheel of Time could really fit in anywhere, although I do really love those books.
Maybe it says enough about me that I do read. Reading doesn't exclude things like Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight, but there is really very little in those books of substance. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say those kinds of things because I haven't read them, but I promise you I never will. I know plenty of my friends and associates read like I do. Maybe not always the same things, but it really is the experience that matters. Yet, when I talk to random people about books, or bring up the fact that I read as much as I do, it seems like I'm some form of foreign species. Damn you America and your below average expectations for humanity. At this point I feel like I may begin to rant, and I'm not even on the topic in the way I meant to be. I read to escape reality. When life gets stressful or I'm feeling low I grab a book. I have many books that I've read many, many times because I know they will always take me out of whatever it is that I'm in. Books are an escape from everything. I read much more when I'm stressed out than I do at any other time in my life.
What is it about my passion that defines me? The what, why, and how of it is almost impossible to 100% describe. Perhaps I define my passion, instead of it defining me. Literature spans so many genres and classifications, and every individual has their own personal experiences within each piece. Maybe it really is impossible to say what it is about it that reflects on me the most. Doesn't matter much anyway. Just random musings. I'll post later this week about Tess of the D'ubervilles. I really am sort of anxious to see how much more miserable her life can get. It almost pains me how much I can relate to her story, and how thankful I really am that I live in a time of acceptance.